Bonefishing in Ascension Bay and Bocapaila, Yucatán, Mexico
Ascension Bay is well known for it's endless wading flats, mangrove lagoons, channels and coral reefs. Pesca Maya is located right on the northern side of the bay, having access to over 100,000 acres of flats, some wadable, some soft, that request a boat. Renowned by anglers for their wariness and fighting spirit, bonefish are stealthy and speedy residents of these shallow flats. Although they are not usually consumed by people, bonefish are a major target of sport anglers, becoming a pillar of the recreational fishing industry.
Without any doubt, the great bonefishing pleasure is to spot the fish, cast, strip, see the fish following, feel the bite, set the hook and listen your reel scream while bonefish pulls your line, stronger, pound per pound, than most fish. It sounds simple, but it takes angler’s best skills to catch bonefish.
These torpedo-shaped fish often resemble gray ghosts as they streak through the shallow backwaters and along the fringes of mangrove forests. Their silvery color often casts reflections of blue and green, and dark streaks punctuate the gaps between the scales on their upper body. Bonefish have a conical, scaleless head with a black-tipped snout and small mouth.They have a single sail-shaped dorsal fin, a powerful muscled body, and a deeply forked tail. Bonefish are grouped with tarpon, eels and ladyfish, because all of these fish have a similar larval stage, but the only other characteristic they share is that most of them are not considered good to eat. Nevertheless, tarpon and bonefish are greatly prized by sport anglers for their wily nature and tenacious spirit. Bonefish may live as long as 19 years. Females are slightly longer than males of the same age.
Range and Habitat
Bonefish reside in inshore marine waters. As adults, they frequent shallow flats, occupying seagrass beds, sandy bottoms, and, occasionally, hard bottoms. They are often found in quiet backwaters along mangrove-fringed areas, prefering salty water. In mid-summer and in winter, bonefish may move out to deeper waters, but they typically do not migrate long distances. Worldwide, bonefish occur in coastal and inland waters of tropical seas. Scientists have discovered at least eight species of bonefish, but more may exist. There is usually little difference between species in the way they look.
Because they are not tasty to eat, bonefish were probably considered trash fish until fishing for leisure came into fashion since the 50's. Today, dedicated bonefishing enthusiasts can buy rods, reels, and even specially made flat-water skiffs named after their favorite quarry. Bonefish are an economic lifeline for the many charter fishing guides in the Caribbean, and the thrill of snaring these savvy backwater gladiators has infected celebrities, athletes, and even U.S. presidents. Because bonefishing is predominantly a catch-and-release fishery, neither the number of bonefish caught each year nor their associated economic value is known.
Because they inhabit very shallow water and are easily spooked, catching a bonefish takes skill and experience. Our fishing guides will lead you to the best spots - which are usually very shallow areas that can be entered only by cutting off the boat engine and using a pole to push the boat in. Poling also provides a good way to sneak up on these nervous fish, as does quietly wading in shallow flats. The more shallow the water, the more skittish the bonefish are likely to be. Experienced guides sight-fish for bonefish by searching for their telltale silvery shapes in the shallows or watching for plumes of mud stirred up by these bottom-feeding fish. A bonefish feeds with its head down and its tail protruding from the water - a behaviour known as "tailing" - and this activity provides another clue to its whereabouts.
When is the best time for bonefishing in Ascension Bay and Bocapaila?
In Ascension Bay and Bocapaila any time is good! Because bonefish are resident year round, the difference comes with the weather. But again any month you can get a perfect bonefishing day. However, better times come with warmer weather. Bonefish will reduce their feeding during cold water periods, they will go for deeper and warmer waters. Rain is a factor that will make it difficult to spot the fish and will get the water milky. Wind will make it hard to cast. “So what is the perfect time?” you might ask, well there is no simple answer. You can have perfect days and catch fish year round and you can have bad days year round, however we will analyze each time of the year: In the Caribbean we have basically 2 seasons: wet and dry season. Wet season goes from the end of June to the end of December and dry season goes from early January through June. The heaviest showers are usually in September, October and sometimes November and December get some.
Most of the time in the Caribbean you can get a heavy rain and it will be sunny 30 minutes later, however some times it can be 3 days cloudy and fishing gets harder, but you still see the fish tailing and nervous in the water. So any time you have the chance, it's a good time to go bonefishing. The peak season is February through May, June and July are good and August is very good, It might be the best time to catch a Grand Slam.
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